PROBLEMS OF EXPENDITURE CONTROL IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT

DOIhttp://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9485.1963.tb00917.x
Publication Date01 February 1963
AuthorLawrence Boyle
PROBLEMS
OF
EXPENDITURE CONTROL IN
LOCAL
GOVERNMENT
LAWRENCE
BOYLE
I
THIS
paper deals with some
of
the problems
of
expenditure control
which present themselves in the field
of
local government finance and
of
the contribution which
a
chief financial olficer in his capacity
of
financial adviser to the authority may make
or
hope to make in the
achieving
of
expenditure control.
It
is
not intended to
deal
with
the mechanics
of
expenditure control such
as
budgetary control
or
the
administrative procedures
for
ensuring approval
of
estimates, author-
isation of expenditure, etc., all of which have already been adequately
dealt with.' It is proposed rather to discuss problems
of
expenditure
control
at
the policy level
or
at
the point before decisions to incur
expenditure are made, about which very much less has been said.
It is perhaps unnecessary to say that expenditure control is inter-
preted not as the mere curtailment
of
public expenditure but in the
sense
of
the most efficient use of the available resources and
in
the
determination
of
the relative priorities
for
public expenditure. Peacock
and Wiseman* have skilfully portrayed the changed attitudes of people
and Governments to public expenditure and in this new climate
of
opinion the role
of
financial officer has altered
from
the relatively
simple one
of
a
passive obstructionist to all expenditure into the more
difficult one
of
an active constructionist in achieving efficient expendi-
ture.
I1
It
is of course clearly understood that it is not the function
of
an
official
to
determine matters of policy. That is the role of the elected
representative, but in an increasingly complex economy the permanent
official with his specialised technical knowledge has some part to play
in
advising the decision-makers in the formulation
of
their policy
decisions and in drawing attention to the constraints to which their
A.
H.
Marshall,
Financial
Administration
iri
Locul
Goivrnrnent,
Royal
Institute
of
Public Administration,
1960.
A.
H.
Marshall,
Locul
Authorities-Internal Firioncia1
Control,
Royal
Institute
of
Public Administration,
1936.
A.
T.
Peacock and Jack Wiseman,
Growth
of
Public
Expenditure
in
U.K..
National Bureau
of
Economic Research,
1961.
102

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